Second round of inspection to check illegal mining ends

The second phase of inspection by special teams of government officials along the coastline to check illegal beach sand mining at various parts across Tuticorin district concluded on Tuesday.

In the morning, proprietors of beach sand mining companies who had been summoned met Revenue Secretary Gagandeep Singh Bedi to discuss issues. S. Vaikuntarajan, proprietor of V.V. Mineral Company, and S. Sugumar, proprietor of Beach Mineral Company, attended the session separately, reliable sources said.

Led by Mr. Bedi, special teams began the second round of inspection on Monday. The inspection teams assessed the mining lease areas at six locations earmarked for the task in various taluks. Special teams of officials from other districts were involved in inspecting stretches of beaches at six locations, including Vaipar and Vembar in Vilathikulam taluk; Padukkapathu and Periyathaalai in Sathankulam taluk and in Tiruchendur taluk – Manapad and Madhavanakurichi.

A cross-section of fisherfolk from coastal villages, including Idinthakarai, Perumanal, Kootapuli, Thomaiyarpuram, Koothankuli, Uvari, Kootapanai, Kooduthaalai and Periyathaalai, and supporters of beach sand mining companies, submitted petitions to Mr. Bedi on Monday and Tuesday.

Xavierammal of Idinthakarai, coastal village in Tirunelveli district, sought inspection in coastal beaches in Tirunelveli and Kanyakumari districts also. She alleged that coastal environment was being polluted owing to indiscriminate beach sand mining and fishermen in access to sea had been vulnerable to diseases. The agitating fisherfolk carried placards demanding closure of beach mining companies.

S. Jeyapaul David, former Bishop of Integrated Tirunelveli- Tuticorin Diocese, in a petition to the Revenue Secretary sought early resumption of the closed beach sand mining companies in the interest of workers for their livelihoods.

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